AbbVie misses sales estimates on Humira weakness, shares fall

By Manas Mishra

(Reuters) -AbbVie Inc missed Wall Street estimates for first-quarter sales, hurt by European competition for its blockbuster drug Humira and lower demand for its newer drug Rinvoq, sending shares of the company down 7% on Friday.

Sales of the rheumatoid arthritis drug, Humira, fell 2.7% to $4.74 billion in the first quarter, below estimates of $4.91 billion, as it faces competition from cheaper biosimilar copies in Europe. U.S. rivals are expected next year when it loses patent protection in the country.

"Growth is going to be suppressed in 2023 and somewhat in 2024. But as soon as that pressure is off, that's when we'll re-emerge and deliver growth on the other side," said Chief Executive Officer Richard Gonzalez.

Sales of Rinvoq, one of the drugs AbbVie has been betting on to drive growth post 2023, missed estimates in the quarter as the U.S. health regulator issued narrower guidelines in December.

Rinvoq brought in sales of $465 million, below estimates of $500.6 million.

However, plaque psoriasis drug Skyrizi brought in sales of $940 million, beating estimates by nearly $24 million.

Last year, AbbVie completed its $63 billion purchase of Botox-maker Allergan, a move to diversify its portfolio ahead of Humira's loss of exclusivity.

Botox sales in cosmetic applications rose 34.4% to $641 million, breezing past estimates of $569.88 million.

Net revenues of $13.54 billion missed Refinitiv IBES estimates of $13.61 billion.

At the request of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, several drug companies have adjusted their forecasts to include expenses from milestone payments and acquisitions.

AbbVie lowered its adjusted earnings per share forecast to between $13.92 and $14.12, from earlier estimates of $14.00 to $14.20, citing the impact of those expenses.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Krishna Chandra Eluri)